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Ask Shade About Trusts: My Daughter’s Husband is a Moocher! How Do I Protect Her Inheritance?

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Ask Shade

Hello Sade,
I am a single mother who has had to work really hard to give my only daughter a good life. Thankfully, God blessed the work of my hands and my food processing company now has branches all over the country. Lately, I have been thinking about planning my estate and writing a Will since I am now a grandmother. Naturally, the bulk of my assets will go to my daughter.

The problem is her husband. As it is, he basically lives off my daughter’s income and my goodwill. I am worried that he will squander everything I have worked hard for. Is there a way to bequeath my property to my daughter without her husband also having rights to them, especially as she now formally goes by his name?
Fiona, Lagos

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Hello Fiona,

I find your story very inspiring, how you attained success, despite your circumstances. It is also quite admirable that you are giving some thought to the all-important issue of estate planning. Although an early start is always great as it helps you get things in perspective, now is also a good time to start especially as your dependents have increased. You have more dear people to protect.

Estate Planning can be done via a number of tools, including Wills. Since you would however like to control access to your assets even when you are gone, you would require an estate planning tool that is more flexible than Wills. A Will would effect transfer of ownership of the assets to your daughter and once that transfer is effected, there are no further controls on how she manages the assets or who she grants access. You therefore need an estate planning tool which allows for your wishes to be implemented whilst protecting against dissipation by third parties. In your case, that would be a “Trust”.

A Trust is an arrangement which allows you to transfer your assets to an individual or Corporate Trustee to hold for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries listed in the trust document called the “Trust Deed”. This trust deed would contain your beneficiary’s details as well as instructions to the Trustee on how you want your beneficiary to access your assets. Ultimately, this ensures that only the named beneficiary would be able to benefit from your assets following your directions.

We would recommend that you transfer your assets to a Trust and name your daughter as the sole beneficiary of the Trust in the event of your demise. The Trust would ensure that her benefits would be accessible only by her, regardless of marriage, divorce or even death, hereby protecting her benefits from opportunists and con artists, thus assuaging your concern about your son in law squandering your assets. The Trust Deed may also include provisions (known as Spendthrift Clauses) for the gradual transfer of the assets to your daughter, thereby preventing any extravagance and ensuring the sustainability of the Trust and its investments.

You may also consider naming your grandchildren (alongside your daughter) as beneficiaries to the Trust, with strict guidelines that would prevent Guardians (such as your son-in-law) from converting the trust assets to their personal use. Also bear in mind that the content of the Trust Deed would remain confidential as this is one of the advantages of setting up a Trust.

On the flip side, since your son in law is likely to remain a part of your daughter’s life, it might be a good idea to get him some help. Perhaps sessions with career coaches and financial advisers could help him get his life on track. You could also consider having a mother-son moment with him where you inquire into what he would really like to do. You might be able to help in get on track permanently so that his behavior does not affect your daughter adversely or trickle down to your grandchildren.

Thanks to everyone who has reached out to me with their concerns. If you would like to have your question featured, please email your question to [email protected]

Warm regards,
Shade

Folashade has a wealth of experience in legal structuring, capital markets, and financing transactions. Her expertise also spans Private Trust, and other succession/estate planning alternatives. Currently, she is Managing Director of ARM Trustees Limited, a subsidiary of the ARM Group charged with asset protection, wealth transfer and generally, succession and estate planning.

8 Comments

  1. Randommer

    May 1, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    How would this work in practice if the couple dosent divorce. If she has access to property that she rents out, how can she keep the income from her husband especially since she seems to be okay with his current mooching behavior. Seems to be it would be better to make the grandchildren the trust beneficiaries for things like school fees and what not. The daughter should get income or capital as needed but not sure the mother can ever prevent this mooching without using an inheritance to cause problems in the daughters marriage. Also knowing Nigerians, the guy may not be mooching. The mother might just be pissed that he is not the primary breadwinner or that he is not as hardworking or as enterprising as she was as a single mom

    • slice

      May 1, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      Having a trust with daughter as sole beneficiary will protect her. The nain issue here seems to be the guy squanders money. If s trustee doles out money from the trust in bits, it will last for years . Of course the guy will still enjoy the benefits and that’s fine as long as he’s not able to take and waste all at once

  2. Olu

    May 1, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    If the daughter decides later to hand everything over to her husband, what are you going to do about it?

    Or, let’s flip this script …wont we be calling someone stingy or selfish?

    Do your best and leave the rest…pray and hope they continue to leave in love, peace and happiness

    You cant control the future.

    • slice

      May 1, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      She can’t hand everything over…at least not at once. A good trustee will stretch the money out for her lifetime or as long as possible. That’s why corporate trustees tend to be better than individuals

  3. bruno

    May 1, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    @slice
    u didn’t answer the second question about flipping the script. u stylishly ignored the question.

    The problem is his wife. As it is, she basically lives off my son’s income and my goodwill. I am worried that she will squander everything I have worked hard for. Is there a way to bequeath my property to my son without his wife also having rights to them,

    if the tables were turned the comment section will be filled with hundreds of comments. they will call the mother in law a stingy witch etc

    its okay for a wife to live off her husband but its not okay for a husband to live off his wife, why?

    • Theresa Bande

      May 2, 2018 at 11:55 am

      If the tables were turned? Ofcourse the wife is supposed to live off her husband.If she doesn’t chop his money, who will?

      My personal opninion, I think its okay for the wife to be a spendsthrift… at least she can be controlled by the husband. But if the husband is the spendsthrift, then there’s a big problem.

      That being said, from what I have read regarding this Trust, it is a very good idea whih can save the future of the family.

    • yinka

      May 2, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      Madam Theresa,just take a minute to process the inanity of the words you just typed.

    • CrazyWorld

      May 4, 2018 at 7:48 am

      I asked this about Davido and Chioma. If Chioma was the superstar and Davido was the boyfriend that stayed through all that happened. You need to see the amount of the way Nigerian women came at me with serious sense of entitlement.

      If the wife is not complaining, I don’t think the woman should be talking. Don’t go and push the wife and create a ‘Acrimony-the movie’ scenario.

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